Despite Denials By Senators, Grazing Bill Lands In Senate, Passes 1st Reading


                                     Fulani Herdsmen


 From Fred Itua, Abuja


DESPITE denials, Sen­ate, yesterday, passed for First Reading, a bill to establish grazing re­serves for cattle across the country.

The new law, National Grazing Reserves Agen­cy Bill, 2016, is spon­sored by Rabiu Kwank­waso, a former governor of Kano State.

Amid opposition from Nigerians and lawmak­ers, the bill, which had earlier been presented in the House of Represen­tatives, was read in the Senate for the first time, yesterday.

The version in the House of Representa­tives, sponsored by Sun­day Karimi from Kogi State, passed the crucial Second Reading few months ago.

His colleague, Sadiq Ibrahim sponsored the National Grazing Re­serve (Establishment) Bill, 2016, which pro­vides for the establish­ment of the National Grazing Reserve Com­mission which shall have power to among other things establish, at least, one cattle reserve in each state of the Federa­tion.

The commission, when established, will manage, control and maintain cattle reserves; prescribe the persons who may be licenced to use the grazing re­serves and determine the type and number of stock permitted therein; prescribe the manner in which the grazing reserves may be put to use; fix charges; maintain and ensure, in co-operation with the Police, security of lives and property within the reserve; provide for and issue grazing permits to persons grazing within the reserves; develop infrastructure and basic amenities such as clinic, schools, etc; demarcate the land boundaries of the grazing reserves and prosecute persons who graze outside them and other offenders of the regulations of the com­mission.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe had, in April, kicked against the bill and sought to confirm whether it was before the Senate. Then, Senate President, Bukola Saraki assured him no such bill existed until it landed in the chamber yesterday.

The grazing reserves bill is being introduced in the National Assem­bly against the backdrop of attacks on communi­ties by herdsmen across the country.

Killings in Nimbo, Enugu State and Agatu, in Benue State have been linked to errant herdsmen.

In the Seventh Sen­ate, and in a bid to curb violent clashes between herdsmen and commu­nities, a bill was spon­sored by Senator Zainab Kure but, it was rejected.      The Sun


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